2 Chronicles 16:9a
“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strongly support those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
They Like Jesus but Are Not Too Thrilled With Us
Will You Let That Stop You from Sharing Your Faith? EXPERIMENTS IN DISCIPLINE
What’s the Point of Spiritual Practices?
SPRING CLEANING TIPS RENEW MY CHURCH
How The Chapel Finds and Launches New Campuses
A CANINE FOR KATE
One Chapel Family’s Fundraising Mission
NOTHING TO FEAR
Motivation to Pursue Social Justice
Community Care Center Winche
FOOD AND CLOTHES ARE AVAILABLE FOR FAMILIES IN NEED!
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If you know of someone who needs some help or if you need some support, please visit us. Donations can be dropped off at any time.
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: table of contents
IN EVERY ISSUE:
10 Chapel Picks 15 Tough Questions
4 Front Porch News
Like Jesus but Are 6 They Not Too Thrilled With Us
Apparently, the unchurched aren’t real excited about church and they have concerns about Christians. But that shouldn’t deter us from showing and sharing Christ.
12 Perspectives on Lent
Whether you don’t understand it, have never practiced it, or can’t imagine Easter without it, you’ll appreciate a fresh perspective on this spiritual practice.
16 Experiments in Discipline
33 The Great Adventure
18 Group Life 22 Chapel News 23 A Church You Can Believe In 25 Staff Spotlight 28 Chapel Community
What’s the point of spiritual disciplines? Tammy Chapman says it’s not so much about how well we do them, but how well we get to know God in the process.
20 Spring Cleaning Tips
Don’t think that skipping this article will make all the dirt go away. This inevitable seasonal ritual might be a bit easier this year with these handy tips.
26 Renew My Church
Ever wondered how The Chapel goes about finding and launching new campuses? Read about it here and find out how you can get involved.
30 A Canine for Kate
One Chapel family’s mission to raise money for a service dog for their little girl has revealed God’s faithfulness in the midst of difficult circumstances.
34 Breaking the Piggy Bank
Kids in The Great Adventure stepped up in big ways and provided a good night’s sleep for orphans in Kenya.
36 The Depth of Our Joy 43 Compassion 46 Chapel Stories
MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Adoptive parents share how they’ve seen God’s hand in their experiences with special needs, international, and foster care adoption.
39 Nothing to Fear
Find out what motivates Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission and a featured speaker at The Chapel.
42 By the Numbers
We give you the numbers on the global water crisis. You decide what to do with them.
45 Dear God 50 Back Porch News
We promise you’ll be touched by these prayers from students in The Zone who have responded to God’s goodness with an attitude of gratitude.
from the editor
Whoa. Did you feel it? Did you feel that wave of urgency? No? I have to admit it comes and goes in my own life. It peaks during altar calls and conversations with missionaries. I tend to forget about it when my schedule is full or my own circumstances seem overwhelming. But the reality is always there: Every minute more than 100 people die around the world and many of them do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. It’s sobering, convicting, and should leave us with a constant sense of urgency about the need to share the Gospel. But we’re human, which means we easily forget the most important stuff in life in favor of the tasks and activities that fill our days. That’s serious stuff for a short editor’s note, you say. I bring it up so that maybe you’ll keep it in mind as you read the articles in this edition. Words are just letters on a page until you apply a real-life urgency to their meaning. What might God be asking you to do as you read and process the words in this magazine? Keep an open mind and open heart, and don’t hesitate when God presses you to take action. It might be something as simple as sharing this magazine with a friend. We encourage you to do that with each edition, actually. We’ve printed more than enough copies, hoping that you’ll share them with a neighbor or leave a copy in the waiting room at your salon or at your favorite coffee shop. In fact, the first person to e-mail me at email@example.com and list the five friends or places with whom you’ve shared sixteen:nine will win a Kindle! Enjoy this edition; then pass it on!
The magazine sixteen:nine is a publication of The Chapel, an evangelical church in Chicagoland that is on the course of helping people rediscover God.
EDITOR Allison Cox
EDITORIAL COORDINATOR Julie Berry firstname.lastname@example.org
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Stacia Gibson email@example.com
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Katie Persinger firstname.lastname@example.org
GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jonathan Strauss email@example.com
Allison Cox Editor
Ask and Answer
Q: How did the magazine get its name? —A lot of people A: At The Chapel, we believe that the Bible verse found in 2 Chronicles 16:9 answers some of
the fundamental questions that many people in our culture are asking, like “What is God like?” and “Is God different than what we’ve been taught?” This verse in many ways shapes our vision and motivation as a church, and the name of the magazine reflects our desire to keep that focus in this publication — hence the reference to the book and verse in which this verse is found. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strongly support those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a) Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer them!
CONTRIBUTORS Julie Berry, Writer Andy Burns, Writer Tammy Chapman, Writer Allison Cox, Writer Carol Egbert, Writer Rick Egbert, Writer Matt Furr, Writer Laura Grimes, Writer Amanda Lynch, Writer Marvin Olasky, Writer Christy Schraeder, Writer Ed Stetzer, Writer
: about the chapel WISCONSIN
“For the eyesILLINOIS of the Lord range throughout the earth to strongly support those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”
(2 Chronicles 16:9a) 59
Four Things We Believe
Grand Ave Rollins Rd
What we believe can be summarized in four short statements:
Jesus is the Son of God. The Bible is the Word of God. The Gospel is the way to God. The Church is the people of God.
59 Hawley Rd
Authentic Joyful Loving Inspiring
These four values are at the center of who God has called us to be:
Four Things We Are
E Palatine Rd
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Lake Zurich Campus Bartlett Rd
72 Golf Rd
62 Barrington Rd
Old Sutton Rd
New Sutton Rd
W Palatine Rd
Lake Cook Rd
Lake Cook Rd 62
As a church, our primary emphasis is to help people: Grow spiritually. Connect relationally. Strengthen families. Make a difference in the world.
Four Things We Do
Libertyville SCHAUMBURG Campus
180 N. Hawthorne Rd. Barrington Hills, IL 60010
25270 W. IL Route 60 Grayslake, IL 60030
330 S. Old Rand Rd. Lake Zurich, IL 60047
1200 American Way Libertyville, IL 60048
1966 Hawley Rd. Mundelein, IL 60060
Service time: Sunday at 10 a.m.
Service times: Saturday at 6 p.m. Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m.
Launch date: Sunday, April 4
Service times: Saturday at 5 p.m. Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m.
Service times: Saturday at 5 p.m. Sunday at 9 and 11 a.m.
Service time: Sunday at 10 a.m. spring 2010 |
front porch news
: thoughts from the senior and campus pastors
We asked our senior pastors …
“How do you want God to be known in our community through the Church?” WHEN I THINK about how I want the Church to be known in the community, I immediately think of the work that is being done through Catalyst. If you are not familiar with it, Catalyst is the network of churches partnering together in our area in order to see a sustained Christ-awakening. Our vision is to see the whole Church bring the whole Gospel to the whole of Chicagoland. Toward that end, we have sought the wisdom of God in how we should approach a vision like this and found the answer in the second chapter of Acts. In the story of the early Church, there is a pattern of how the earliest believers were able to capture the hearts of their city and lead thousands into a relationship with Jesus. We believe that any significant work of God always begins
with the renewal of God’s people, awakening them to the vision that God has for an area. Next, believers need to rebuild the unity of the Church so that there is no division among the Body of Christ on Earth. From there we need to restore the reputation of Christ in the broader culture (Catalyst is doing an awesome job of this through backpacks for underprivileged kids, food drives, and our Adopt-a-School program). Finally, the Church needs to help reconcile a lost world back to God. If we genuinely believe that Jesus is the answer to life’s greatest questions, the solution to the world’s greatest problems, and the fulfillment of humanity’s greatest needs, then the world will recognize him in that way through the ministry of the local
We asked our campus pastors …
“If you could medal in an Olympic sport, what would it be?”
church. The Church is the tangible presence of God on Earth. We need to embrace our calling as the hands and feet of Jesus and win the hearts of our communities through an inspiring demonstration of love, sacrifice, and selfless service on their behalf. That is how I want the Church to be known in our communities. —Scott Chapman, Senior Pastor
IT ALWAYS BOGGLES MY MIND that God has entrusted his reputation to us Christians. But clearly that is exactly what he has done. It says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (NIV). God’s reputation in the world is in our hands. We have the capacity to make him look completely unappealing or we can take steps toward conveying his beauty to the world around us. Though I frequently find myself telling seekers that they should not look to Christians to discover what God is like, I realize that I am actually disagreeing with God’s strategy. We need to understand our responsibility and rise up to reflect God well in this world. My prayer is that The Chapel would be filled with people who are growing spiritually and reflecting the beauty of Jesus in their lives more and more. I pray that when people meet neighbors who go to The Chapel, they will find folks of joy and laughter and homes filled with happiness despite real-world trials. I pray that they will find selfless love in people who are willing to give and serve on behalf of their neighbors. I pray that they will find the Chapel family to be honest and filled with integrity, refusing to compromise with sin. I pray that they will find Chapel families to be relationally tight and families that are facing normal struggles but drawing closer to each other as a result of those trials. In the end, I pray that they will discover Chapel people to be normal and imperfect, yet with an unmistakable difference about them. I pray that that difference is beautiful and enticing and that neighbors would be curious about God as they realize that he must be the reason for these wonderful peculiarities. Jesus said that we are to be the light of the world and a city on a hill that can’t be hidden, that we should let our light shine before men so that they would see our good deeds and praise our Father in Heaven. I pray that The Chapel would increase Christ’s vision and that all of us would be so transformed by Jesus that the difference between others and us is unmistakable. And that that difference would draw people to seek out our God. —Jeff Griffin, Senior Pastor
In 1984 U.S. skier Bill Johnson told the world (and one impressionable fourth grader) that “he didn’t know why everyone else was there” because “they were only going to fight for second place.” Forgetting that no American had ever medaled in any Olympic alpine race, Johnson went on to dominate the event. Since then, I anticipate the Olympic downhill event and would love to win it! —Steve Pugh, Barrington Campus Pastor No question about it: ping-pong. In fact, I consider myself to be the reigning Chapel staff champion. I was temporarily unseated from my lofty perch by both Dave Thompson and Jeff Pittman, but since then I’ve given them both sound thrashings that they’ll never forget. Rumor has it that there are a couple of people in our church family who would like a shot at the title. I’ve got three words for you: bring it on. —Brent Davis, Grayslake Campus Pastor For the winter Olympics I think those crazies who do the aerial freestyle ski jump are fascinating. The courage it takes to fly down a hill, launch 10 stories up into the sky, and then land on your feet is mind-boggling. How many times can you mess up before you’re messed up? For the summer Olympics, indoor volleyball would be my vote. Pounding that ball into the floor and trying to block people who can jump that high would be intense. I’d need a few more inches on my height and a few more feet on my vertical leap. —Dave Thompson, Lake Zurich Campus Pastor I’m the kind of guy who is taken by the underdog story. I love seeing people accomplish what experts say they can’t. I’m inspired by a group of individuals who rally to become a unified team, with each person excelling at their position. I’m charged up by watching people accomplish the impossible. In the spirit of Cool Runnings, I’d want to win the gold as part of the Jamaican bobsled team. Ya, mahn! —Matt Furr, Libertyville Campus Pastor Downhill skiing! For years we have skied in Utah and Colorado and I love the rush of skiing fast. However, more often than not the numbers of people and the bright orange signs are telling us to “slow down.” I love the idea of being the only skier on the mountain with crowds of fans screaming for me to “go faster.” Imagine the thrill of going nearly 100 mph with nothing but a pair of fiberglass boards strapped to your feet. That would be my Olympic dream. —Rick Smith, Mundelein Campus Pastor
spring 2010 |
GROW SPIRITUALLY :
They Like Jesus but Are Not Too Thrilled With Us By Ed Stetzer
The church is full of hypocrites.
I’ve heard it, and you’ve heard it. It intimidates many Christians. Not just because people say it, but because we’ve seen it, too. It is hard to share Christ when they believe the Church doesn’t show Christ. After all, they don’t like us ... right? A crowded bandwagon to jump on these days is the one that says the world is going to hell because of Christians. Our arrogance, legalism, and buffoonery are constantly written about — often by us. And it’s true, at least partly. The unchurched aren’t real excited about church (more on that later). And they have concerns about Christians. But that shouldn’t deter us from showing and sharing Christ. Jesus they like. Us ... well ... not so much. In spite of their attitudes toward the church, unchurched Americans — especially younger ones — “like” Jesus and are surprisingly open to talking about the Christian faith. LifeWay Research, in partnership with the North American Mission Board’s Center for Missional Research, conducted two telephone surveys in 2007 with unchurched Americans. The survey included 1,402 people who hadn’t attended a religious service at a church, synagogue, or mosque in the previous six months. We discovered some interesting facts. For starters, younger people are less cynical about the Church and Christian faith than older adults. When it comes to the “hypocrites in the church” mantra, 75 percent of unchurched adults 30 years and older agree. But that number drops to 67 percent among adults ages 18-29. That’s still a lot, and we should keep in mind that these are people who don’t go to church, but you might expect younger adults to be even more skeptical about organized Christianity than older adults.
EVEN MORE SURPRISING: • 66 percent of younger adults believe Jesus died and came back to life, compared to 54 percent of older adults. • 74 percent of younger adults agree “the Christian religion is a relevant and viable religion for today,” compared to 63 percent of older adults. • 89 percent of younger adults say they would be willing to listen if someone wanted to tell them about his or her Christian beliefs, compared to 75 percent of older adults. • And 71 percent of all respondents agreed that “believing in Jesus makes a positive difference in a person’s life.”
More sobering is the fact that 58 percent of younger adults and 67 percent of older adults think the God of the Bible is no
different from the gods or spiritual beings depicted by world religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that people who don’t go to church don’t understand how completely different the God of the Bible is from Hinduism’s pantheon or Buddhism’s idea that ultimate reality is impersonal non-existence. When you add those views to the Oprah-ization of American Christianity, you get a generic “big guy in the sky” view of God and a “you believe what you believe, I believe what I believe” viewpoint on theology. People are shocked when Christians say the Bible explains the truth about who God is, what He expects of people, and what He has done to make it possible for us to be reconciled with Him. Shocked — but not closed to discussions. Americans’ view of God is looking less and less like the God described in the Bible. A hundred years ago, Americans held more of a consensus about who God is. Today, the majority of the unchurched believe in God, but he/she/it is a generic God that fits into every imaginable religious system — even when the religions contradict each other. Our syncretistic culture is a rebuke to us as Christians and, at the same time, a challenge. Is there something that causes our culture to like Jesus but reject the church? Yes. It’s us. Obviously, it’s more than that. And there is an important spiritual element here — only God can open people’s eyes. But we have been a big part of the problem. One of the big mistakes Christians have been making is divorcing the explanation of the Gospel from the demonstration of the Gospel. For decades, Christians have been sharing presentations and not explaining how faith makes a difference in daily life. Maybe that’s what people have rejected. People don’t want to hear another presentation or be seen as a prospect. They want to be somebody’s friend, to see up close and personal the difference Jesus makes in a person’s life. People want a faith that is not just “tell,” but “be” and “do.” All three matter — “be,” “do,” and “tell.” Even though the unchurched have a confused view of God and a negative view of the church, the fact that they are overwhelmingly open to someone sharing about their Christian faith should make us stop and think. Or maybe I should say, it should make us go and tell. We believe religion is off-limits in polite conversation, but the vast majority of unchurched people say they would enjoy conversations about spiritual matters. Even more important, our research showed 89 percent of unchurched Americans say they have at least one close friend who considers himself or herself a Christian, and 71 percent say they don’t think Christians talk too much about their beliefs. In other words, we can stop searching for unchurched people spring 2010 |
Younger Adults (18-29)
Older Adults (30+)
“Even though the unchurched have a confused view of God and a negative view of the church, the fact that they are overwhelmingly open to someone sharing about their Christian faith should make us stop and think. Or maybe I should say, it should make us go and tell.” to talk with about Christ. We already know them, and they are open to talking with us about Jesus. All we need to do is start the conversations about spiritual matters. Perhaps church leaders should begin teaching about basic hospitality and friendship as part of the biblical ethic in New Testament Christianity. Christians don’t have the home field advantage we once had, but people are open to listening, and God is still at work, using people and churches to share the Good News in an increasingly confused world. That should propel us to action and help us move beyond fear to share our faith.
Yep, lots of hypocrites in the church — at least that’s the way 72 percent of the unchurched see it. But only 44 percent of them say Christians get on their nerves. We’ll have to work on the rest. 16:9 This article originally published at CatalystSpace.com. Ed Stetzer is director of research for LifeWay Research. You can follow him online at edstetzer.com or on Twitter at @edstetzer. This data was published in a book, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and Churches that Reach Them (coauthored with Richie Stanley and Jason Hayes).
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: music recommended by Kim Fukai
Rocks into Rivers
Rocks into Rivers provides a message of encouragement for those of us who feel lost in our own situations and left out by a world that leaves us searching for validation. Lyrics from “Believe Me” give a peek into the hope contained in this album: “Someday soon I’ll be alright again//I pray you’ve not forgot//someday you will see the light again//and find all that you lost.” Their songs touch on topics that are wound up in the relationships we all have between husband and wife, parent and child. The album’s lyrics are poetic but understandable and faithful but not lofty. Seabird’s second studio album is a honing in of the band’s lyrical and musical strengths. Their sound is a solid rock groove with piano and guitar-driven melodies (think The Fray with a lot more punch, plus a little Aqualung). They let the piano and electric guitar share the lead and it creates a winning combination. This album was released as the band was fresh off an extensive 2009 touring schedule that matched them up with David Crowder Band, Jars of Clay, and Barcelona. In the spring of 2010, they are set to hit the road with NeedToBreathe. Check out seabirdmusic.com for tour dates and band info.
North Point Live
The hungry worshipper’s ears are satisfied with the electric guitar-driven sounds and sincere lyrics found in the most recent live album release from the worship leaders in the North Point Community Church family, including Steve Fee (Fee) and Todd Fields. It’s clear from these songs that the focus of Awake is to remind us that the God we worship is alive and in control and that he deserves our adoration. There are so many gems on this one that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the payoff for me comes in the last few songs. The lyrics in “Glory to God” — “Take my life and let it be all for you and for your glory, take my life and let it be yours” — pretty much sums up the album’s intentionality. There’s something about a live worship album that seems so ... worshipful (bear with me on this). All the preparations that go into a live recording culminate in one evening when everyone brings what they have — talents, passions, personal brokenness, spiritual hang-ups — to the feet of Jesus and expectantly waits for the Holy Spirit to move through them. What comes out is an honest moment of creation calling out to the one who gives us everything. This authentic moment has been captured and is ready for the enthusiastic worshipper to add your voice to Awake.
The Village Church
Kim is the assistant to the campus pastor and office manager for The Chapel’s Grayslake campus. You can reach her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @kikifoo.
If you are looking for bold preaching from pastors who have a ferocious passion for understanding and communicating God’s Word, you should definitely check out “The Village Church – Sermon Audio” on iTunes. The messages are expository and it’s clear that Lead Pastor Matt Chandler and his team of preachers know their text. Chandler’s messages show he is painfully aware of humanity’s tendency to mess things up and how easily things of the world beguile us. His fervent affection for his church compels him to preach with brutal honesty; he is direct in his correcting and lovingly severe. He also has a fantastic sense of humor and quick-witted style and has become one of my favorite teaching pastors. The Village Church is in the Dallas metro area. In late 2009, a rare form of malignant tumor was removed from Chandler’s brain and he underwent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. He was extremely transparent with his church family during this time and you can even catch him tweeting about it (@mattchandler74).
books recommended by Andy Burns :
The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns
You should probably read this one. It challenged me. It bothered me when I wasn’t reading it. It made me think twice about daily decisions. It made me open up the Bible on more than one occasion to prove the author wrong. Problem is, he wasn’t. This manifesto on what God expects of us made me uncomfortable in my comfort. It made me realize how easy it is to be apathetic. It pushed me. These are the exact things I look for on books about faith and our world. Stearns shares the story of how he went from being a wildly successful CEO to the president of World Vision and the life changing experiences that came along with it. He has realized that as Christians, we are called to do something about the global poverty crisis. He follows the example of Jesus in what he is looking for in a follower. He illustrates what it looks like to give food, drink, and clothing to the least of the world. He writes stories of the needy and the misconceptions of poverty through personal stories and statistics. I was expecting this book to be a 300-page advertisement and celebration for World Vision. It wasn’t. Instead, it was a personal exploration to find what God expects of us — a journey that Stearns encourages us to take. God is starting to wake us up and make us aware of what we need to be doing as Christians. He asks way more of us than to go to church and avoid sin. He wants us to serve. He wants us to give food, drink, and clothing to the least of these. I appreciate these voices rising up in the Church. I think this book needs to become required reading in churches across America, because it makes you uncomfortable in your comfort and forces you to face your apathy.
Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl: Wide-Eyed Wonder in God’s Spoken World by N.D. Wilson
A couple of years ago I discovered why Twitter is the most wonderful invention ever — free stuff! I received my first copy of Travel and Leisure magazine the other day. I have downloaded numerous albums. I even have a “Wisconsin Burgers and Cheese” shirt. This book by N.D. Wilson also came free via Twitter. I follow Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers (@MichaelHyatt), and one day he posted a link to his blog. There was a buzz going around his office about this book. So he went through his stack and found it and read it. It moved him so much he gave away 500 copies of it. Two weeks after following the rules on his blog, I found it in my mailbox. I immediately opened it up and was quickly immersed in it. It was thoughtful and artistic and funny — very funny. Wilson captured the character of God so well. He found a child-like approach to God in relating experience on Earth to riding a tilt-a-whirl. Also like a tilt-a-whirl, he got a little off-track at times. His tangents got dizzying, his logic cloudy. I found his humor a bit sarcastic as well. But then there would be these beautiful passages where he took the dizzy and cloudiness of life and brought it into focus and in God’s order. I liked the headiness of his allusions. He regularly pulled from famous poets and philosophers to make his points. I liked the silliness he takes in life taken too seriously and as he pointed out the oddities of everyday existence. For a philosophical apologetic, the prose was wonderful and never turned into a textbook. I liked this book; I didn’t love it. I recommend it with the same warning Wilson did: Hold on and know what you are about to read. Don’t expect a lengthy exegesis on the character of God. Expect a casual read that will make you smile and think.
Andy is The Chapel’s video director. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @theandyburns.
spring 2010 |
I grew up Catholic
— the whole nine yards: nuns, priests, and Catholic grade school. I was an altar boy and my parents served Communion. I was even part of a large family. I didn’t just grow up Catholic; I grew up a great Catholic. If getting to Heaven was based on maintaining Church rules and traditions, my family would have a first class ticket. As you can imagine, we were also great at observing Lent. Ah, the ancient tradition of absolving from meat on Fridays, avoiding a certain vice, and being nicer to my siblings. It was a great practice in self-control. That was what Lent was all about in my family. Of course being the good Catholics we were, we could easily answer about Jesus’ suffering and, by choosing to not eat chocolate for 40 days, we could understand what he did for us in his death. But being one of five children, it was essentially just one big competition to prove I could do something better than my siblings.
parents and friends who were raised Catholic caused me from an early age to develop some strong feelings around the topic of Lent. Whenever I was approached about the practice, my favorite response was, “Oh, I don’t practice Lent; I’m Christian, not Catholic.” There was something in me that wanted to make sure that others knew Lent was not something I practiced, and that I was different than a Catholic. I found myself desperately wanting to clear up the differences between Catholicism and Christianity to use it as a doorway for further conversation with others. To me, Lent was a practice of a religion I’ve struggled to make sense of all my life. It meant giving up french fries,
I grew up in a Protestant home. However, having
Once I awoke to the reality of Christ and the realness of his death and Resurrection, I felt freed from the legalism of following an empty rule in how in control of my life I can be. I was not going to partake in a fast that had no spiritual significance. It wasn’t drawing me closer to Christ. Since I was 15 years old, I have not observed Lent. Now, almost 15 years later, a part of me misses Lent. In looking for a deeper practice of my own faith, I see the beauty of sacrificing something important to me. I want to prepare my heart to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter. I see the value of showing my children what is truly important. I want them to see the value of ancient disciplines in following Christ today. This year I hope it is more than a “good intention” for my family.
chocolate, and pop (to name a few of my friends’ favorite choices) for 40 days, only to pick that stuff back up once it was over. It even gave me a reason to gloat over the fact that I didn’t have to “give anything up” when others did. Lent never held any significance in my life because of my desire to separate my faith from the Catholic religion. But now I find myself revisiting my initial thoughts on the practice of Lent. As I’ve grown in my faith and matured, I now find beauty in the practice I once misunderstood. Something I used to view as a stupid religious rule I now see as a tool to help me understand just a glimpse of what my Lord and Savior went through. —Julie Berry
There are moments along our faith journey
when identifying with Christ more intentionally is important to us. For many, the season of Lent is a time to identify with Christ in a focused way. The 40 days of Lent remind us of Jesus in the wilderness. He fasted for 40 days. And in the moment of his great physical weakness, he was spiritually strong enough to stand firm in the face of temptation. If we’re not careful, however, our spiritual practices can become attempts to earn God’s favor. And in doing so, we miss the point. The point is not to earn his favor through self-sacrifice; it is to enjoy the favor of his presence and the transformation of our spirits to become more like him. The prophet Micah spoke to the people of Jerusalem. They were cut to the heart by the prophet’s indictment of their pride and self-dependence. In repentance, they turned to God, crying out, “What must we do? How can we earn your favor once again?” In response, the prophet says this in Micah 6:8: “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (NIV). This challenge by the prophet becomes a transformational framework for reflecting on our identification with Christ. It is not enough to simply bear his name; we must also live his life. To Act Justly: We live justly when we refuse to accept the systems and rules that demean others. We live out justice through feeding the hungry, serving the poor, advocating for the weak, and embracing the marginalized. To Love Mercy: Mercy is the act of letting someone who has hurt us off the hook. The pain is real. The relationship is broken. Mercy is given, not because it’s deserved. We give mercy because we have been given mercy.
“The point of spiritual practices is not to earn God’s favor through self-sacrifice; it is to enjoy the favor of his presence and the transformation of our spirits to become more like him.” To Walk Humbly with God: To walk humbly is not to walk in shame and self-deprecation. Instead, humility is allowing God to answer our deepest questions about our identity, success, pleasure, safety, community, and provision. We walk in humility with God when we trust him to answer these questions for us. And in the moment we do so, he offers us his peace and his presence. Looking at the life of Jesus, we see him live this way. He did it perfectly. We so often fumble around. Like the father who delights in the attempts of his child to become like him by walking in his oversized shoes, our Father delights to lead us into a life that reflects him — even if we stumble and fall short. Whether you practice the season of Lent or not, may these days be ones in which you are transformed into the image of Christ as you draw close to him. Let us act justly. Let us love mercy. And let us walk humbly with our God. —Matt Furr, Libertyville Campus Pastor
WHAT IS LENT?
ent is a time of prayer, penance, and sacrifice in preparation for the remembrance during Holy Week of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It begins on Ash Wednesday and concludes with Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection (April 4 this year). The Catholic Church observes Lent, as well as some Protestant churches, including Lutherans and Anglicans. For many, Lent is most closely associated with the idea of “giving something up.” While there is an emphasis on fasting, participants also focus on baptism, prayer, and charity.
spring 2010 |
Do you want to grow more in Christ but are not sure what the next step should be? Find out what’s “next*.” This innovative and interactive tool is designed to guide you on your personal spiritual path and is now available at any Chapel bookstore.
by Peter Worrall :
Send your tough questions to email@example.com for possible inclusion in sixteen:nine.
Q: Why go to church? A:
Why do people stop going to church? I have struggled with church attendance for a number of reasons. The first was boredom. I knew that God was not boring, but my little Brethren church in England used to get people to preach who really didn’t seem to have the gift. If anything came up that gave me an excuse not to go to church, I tended to take that opportunity. I even went through a phase of attending church and going to sleep during the sermon. I remember my mother lovingly and tenderly hitting me one morning when I actually snored.
If we come with a consumer attitude to church, we can feel let down easily. We expect church to meet our needs and cater to our whims. I have watched a YouTube clip that promises a wax for your car, tickets to the Super Bowl, or a pony if you attend MeChurch. Therein lies the rub. It’s not about you. Your very life is not your own; it has been bought at a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). My attitude in my boring church changed when I became proactive. I gathered a group of teenagers around me and we snagged the keys to the church annex. We prayed with spiritual fervor that God would reveal to us ways in which we could make a difference for his sake. We saw ways that we could get involved. We suggested songs, we shared what God was doing in our lives, and after a while, some of us found ourselves preaching at the church (Colossians 3:16). We stopped attending church for what we could get out of it and attended church for what we were called by God to bring to him. The Psalms clearly show that David was excited to come to
the house of God. He says, “better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10 NIV). Can you imagine David filling a pew and mouthing the words to songs he didn’t care about? Worship is not even a synonym for singing. Worship is “worth-ship.” We gather out of a duty to shout, share, and sing about the worth of our God and his work. It is not essentially an emotional thing, though emotions can be involved. It is a relational decision. Our relationship is enhanced when we decide to share in praise to God and ascribe worship in as many ways as we can. The writers of the New Testament were keen that people would not give up meeting together (Hebrews 10:25). Some had stopped gathering regularly. What kind of “church” had they given up to their peril? Acts tells us that the early Christians were
“My attitude in my boring church changed when I became proactive. We stopped attending church for what we could get out of it and attended church for what we were called by God to bring to him.” dedicated to “the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). So firstly, the church needs to be a learning community. Some people think that they learn enough about God from nature and the world around them. It is great to learn about God outside of the church. We are called to love God with all of our mind, after all. You need to attend church and find mature people to teach you. Secondly, the church needs to be a mutually encouraging community. A coal that is removed from the fire doesn’t burn long on its own. Thirdly, the church should be a community that remembers. That is why breaking bread is mentioned. By breaking bread we remember the grace poured out for us through Christ’s suffering and sacrifice. Fourthly, the church needs to be a praying community, growing in more meaningful conversation with God. Peter is assistant professor of educational ministries at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He lives in McHenry with his family, Kelli and Daryl.
spring 2010 |
by Tammy Chapman
ave you ever had something stolen from you? A few years ago, my wallet was stolen at the grocery store. Surprising even myself, I tracked down the woman who I was sure had taken it. My decisive, bold actions succeeded. I got back my wallet! Another time, something more personal was taken from me. In the midst of a huge transition in our family, I was robbed of my peace, my joy, my confidence, and my hope. Satan was at work and instead of standing up to fight for what was rightfully mine, I remained seated in self-doubt and indecision. I struggled for more than a year before I realized I needed to act. In John 10:10, Jesus says, “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (NIV). As the father of lies, Satan purposes to ruin our lives. But Jesus longs for us to live! The life our Lord wants for us is full and abundant. The Greek word is perissón, described by bibletools.org as meaning “‘superfluous,’‘overflowing,’ ‘over and above a certain quantity, ‘a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.’” As the fulfiller of John 10:10, Jesus is responsible to give us the full life. Abundance is not ours to take; it is his to give. And amazingly, he came to give it: “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” Jesus is also the fulfillment of this verse. Jesus lived the abundant life while he was on Earth. He walked in love, joy, and peace. He made a difference in people’s lives. He knew the right thing to say at the right time. He loved the unlovable. He deeply communed with the Father. This is the way I want to do and experience life. I want to live the way Jesus lived and love the way Jesus loved. What is the key to living the abundant life? Being like Jesus is certainly a requirement. We are called to be holy as he is holy and to love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to forgive and serve, speak the truth in love, and build each other up. But how long will it take to really be like Jesus? Do I have to wait until Heaven to experience the abundant life? In John 17:3, Jesus prayed these words: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” Eternal life (which is abundant life that does not end) begins in the here and now; it isn’t put on hold until we get to Heaven. And although we have many physical things to look forward to once we are in Heaven, the essence of eternal life is our relationship with God. When we study the Bible, we can learn a lot about Jesus. But it is possible to know a lot about Jesus and still not really know him. We can even be really good Bible students and know a lot of verses and stories, pearls of wisdom, and fascinating insights and still not know our precious Lord. Really knowing Jesus is essential to living the abundant life. In John 17:3, the Greek word for “to know” is ginosko. In the September 2008 publication of “Freedom’s Gate,” an online newsletter published by newandlivingway.org, author Paul Metzger wrote this about ginosko: “Ginosko … indicates a relationship between the person knowing and the thing known. It is knowledge received, not by mere intellectual activity but by revelation. We could say that ginosko means to receive a truth by person-
al encounter or experience with the source, i.e. revealed truth; truth that you know is true because you have intimately experienced that truth personally. ‘Been there done that’ kind of truth.” A commentator in The Forerunner Commentary found at bibletools.org, John Ritenbaugh, said this regarding John 17:3: “To know God, therefore, is not merely to have intellectual knowledge of Him, but it is having an intimate, personal relationship with Him like the nearest and dearest relationship between two people.” Jesus wants us to really know him as a friend — intimately, personally, completely, and forever. Knowing God in this way is not just a New Testament concept; it is what God has always intended. The Hebrew, Old Testament word for “to know” is yada. Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.” [Emphasis added] God already knows us intimately. Psalm 139 is my favorite passage, where the psalmist declares the depth of God’s complete knowledge of us. God loves you so much. He is aware of every aspect of your life and wants to be intimately involved in everything you do. He is reaching out to you and calling you to him, inviting you to get to know him for who he is. He offers his hand to you and promises that if you take it, he will walk with you every day for the rest of your life on this Earth and beyond. It is amazing to me to think that God wants us to know him. He wants us to be in a relationship with him. And that is the key to living the abundant life: really knowing God. With a variety of spiritual disciplines, the possibilities for getting to know God are endless. Many women at The Chapel were involved in a women’s large group study where we read Jan Johnson’s book, Invitation to the Jesus Life. I love how Jan brings clarity to the spiritual disciplines. On page 21, she says, “You do the connecting (with God), and God does the perfecting (in your behavior).” So often we are doers. Spiritual disciplines can easily make our checklist. Have I prayed? Check. Have I read my Bible? Check. Have I memorized Scripture? Check. We like having things to do to become more like Jesus. The objective of spiritual disciplines, though, is not to get good at doing them, but to get to know the Lord in the process of doing them. Keeping this in mind shifts our focus just a little bit, but the outcome of that shift is huge! Jan Johnson refers to the disciplines as experiments. What a freeing concept! The disciplines help us experiment in our relationship with Jesus. When we find one that really works, we can then practice that discipline and deepen our relationship with God. “As we connect with God, we change” (Invitation to the Jesus Life, p. 20). Whether you learn to meditate on Scripture, spend a day in solitude, practice silence, fast, confess your sins, simplify your life, reflect or journal, the goal of all of these disciplines is to live every day not just for Jesus but with Jesus so you can be like Jesus. 16:9 Tammy is married to Senior Pastor Scott Chapman and together they have three children. She has been a speaker for the women’s large group study at the Grayslake campus.
spring 2010 |
: by Beth Whartnaby
Knock, Knock. Who’s There? Knock, knock jokes: We’ve all heard them. Most of us have even dished up a few. But there is a knocking happening right now that’s not a joke. It’s the knocking of someone looking for community. Sometimes this knock is a phone call, an e-mail, a conversation in the church lobby. Our church, our neighborhood, our world is hungry for vital, life-changing, transforming relationships. Will they, as God so clearly intends, find this community through the Church? The answer to this question depends, in large part, on you and me. More than 2,700 people are involved in some sort of Chapel small group. Many others are looking for authentic biblical community that can be found in a small group of believers. Some of these folks find their way into this type of community rather quickly and easily. But, sadly, others don’t. Sometimes the roadblocks they encounter are completely unintentional. But sometimes, they hit something a little harder to define and harder to overcome — the closed door of exclusivity. They knock. Someone answers, but the answer is “no.” For whatever reason, their group is closed. Granted, once in a while there are valid reasons to delay the welcoming of new group members into a small group. But more often than not, a mindset of exclusivity has developed over time due to misconceptions about what authentic, biblical community really looks like. We may not completely understand the importance of inclusivity in the formation of true community. The Bible is clear that as a community of believers, we are to love one another (Matthew 22:37-39) and be one or live in unity with each other (John 17:21). God also commands his followers to accept one another in Romans 15:7: “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (NIV). Author Gilbert Bilezikian writes the following in his book, Community 101: Reclaiming the Local Church as Community of Oneness (p. 58): “This scriptural imperative [referring to Romans 15:7] cuts across all the complexities of life, the intricacies of relation-
ships, and the difficulties of building community. It goes to the core of the issue of oneness. It tells us that oneness is achieved when we meet at the center of the cross, where its two parts intersect. The command requires us to ‘accept one another’ — the horizontal dimension of love — as ‘Christ accepted’ us — the vertical dimension of God’s love for us. Therein lies the secret of the workings of oneness. Christ’s acceptance of us is gracious, total, unreserved, unprejudiced, forgiving, and freeing. So should be our acceptance of each other. This prescription for oneness forbids Christians intent on building community to construct it around worldly considerations of rank, status, gender, race, fortune, or social standing. Christ does not take into account such factors for his acceptance of believers, nor should his followers. In order to develop true oneness, community is to be built by people who accept each other as Christ accepts them.”
Clearly, God desires that as believers, we should intentionally include each other in community. God’s Word also illustrates how much God loves and longs for those who don’t yet know him. The three parables found in Luke 15 clearly communicate God’s heart for anyone who does not yet know Jesus. What might be easy to miss about these parables, though, is that Jesus shared these words to a gathering that included tax collectors, “sinners,” and teachers of the religious laws. These religious leaders were appalled that Jesus would not only associate with these “sinners,” but would even sit down and eat with them (implying close community). Jesus shared these stories of the love, forgiveness, and acceptance of God against this backdrop of the exclusive religious leaders who were listening. Like many other truths of our faith, God’s desire for his followers to live in inclusive, welcoming community is clear — but not always easy. What comes naturally to most of us is to try to hold onto our small group harmony, once achieved, rather tightly. We
“We need to recognize that the new person who would like to come into our group is looking for the same things you and I are looking for: to be known, loved, and cared for in authentic Christian community.” are certain that inviting someone new into our group will be risky. Well, it probably will be. Being open and inclusive is risky. But did you stop to calculate the risk you took as your small group began to go deeper relationally? Growing in intimacy is risky, too! We need to recognize that the new person who would like to come into our group is looking for the same things you and I are looking for: to be known, loved, and cared for in authentic Christian community. When small groups work correctly, people find true community
and experience love. This creates a sense of gratitude. Gratitude should move us to be willing to let new people into our community so they can experience this same true community and love. We need to begin to look at the mission of our small groups in a new way. Is our gratitude for what God has done in our lives through our small group moving us to risk being open to others? In Bill Donahue and Russ Robinson’s book, Walking the Small Group Tightrope, they share that “Christ’s purposes demand that this intimate community have a cause, a mission beyond itself. This combination of intimacy and openness allows people to experience God’s design for people in the body — inclusive community” (p. 144). People are knocking. How will your group respond?
Beth is the director of groups at The Chapel. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online Group Finder Looking for a small group but don’t know where to start? Check out our online group finder and get connected!
CONNECT RELATIONALLY :
Spring Cleaning Tips by Allison Cox
here’s no use turning the page and trying to avoid the inevitable. Spring cleaning season has arrived and if you promise now to do a “summer cleaning” later, it won’t make that accumulated dirt and grime go away. So take heart, arm yourself with the toughest cleaners you can find, and read these tips to help make the task a bit easier.
10. Is it worth the hassle of cleaning old items that are really never going to be clean again, like drip pans and shower curtains? Consider replacing these items that generally cost between $10 and $20.
1. You might be surprised the difference a good baseboard washing will make in your home. Use a dishwashing detergent solution and keep two buckets handy: one for the solution and another for wringing out your sponge.
12. Make it a family project. Use games or competitions to include your kids and take some of the tasks off your plate.
2. Wash windows horizontally on the inside and vertically on the outside. If they streak, you’ll know which side to redo. 3. Use WD-40 to clean stainless steel appliances. 4. Placing fabric softener sheets or unwrapped soap bars in suitcases or drawers will help get rid of musty odors. 5. Make your own spray cleaner. Fill a spray bottle with three tablespoons ammonia, one tablespoon vinegar, and the remainder with water. 6. “Spring cleaning” can cause fear and anxiety in the most level-headed person. Make the task more manageable by spreading your tasks out over the course of a week and on your busiest days, complete “mini-tasks” that only take five or 10 minutes each. 7. When you fold sheets, place the entire set inside a pillowcase to make it easier to find. 8. You can keep the grit and grime on your floors to a minimum by keeping your doormats clean, whether that means shaking them, swatting them, washing them, or even replacing them. 9. If you don’t use it, lose it. This goes for clothing, appliances, and kitchenware — if you haven’t used it in the last year, it’s probably not worth the time it takes to clean around it.
11. To prevent mold and mildew, wash or dry-clean anything you will pack away until the fall and reduce moisture in the storage area.
13. If you’re cleaning out the garage, start by sorting your stuff into categories so you can get an idea of what you’re working with. Give your unused items to a local charity or to a neighbor through freecycle.org. 14. I promise I won’t make fun of you if you asked for a label-maker for Christmas. In fact, I applaud you for recognizing that labeling takes organizing to the next step and saves time and your sanity. 15. Invest in a $5 plastic tote to store your cleaning tools and supplies so that you can save time and take them with you as you travel to each room of your house. 16. Save yourself some heartache and clean from the top down. There’s nothing worse (for a spring cleaner) than making a room shine and then noticing dust on the ceiling fan and cobwebs in the ceiling corners. 17. Use dryer sheets to clean and reduce static on blinds. 18. Keep three boxes or storage bins handy to store unwanted items you find while you’re cleaning: one for charity, one for garbage, and one for a garage sale. 19. Need help making a list? Google “spring cleaning checklist” for printable lists that will help keep you organized. 20. Music can make even the most tedious tasks bearable. I recommend blasting The Beach Boys or Robert Randolph & The Family Band’s Colorblind and dare you not to dance while you dust mop. 16:9
got cars? Do you have an operating vehicle that youâ€™d like to donate to a good cause? Your blessing will benefit someone in need of a car.
For more information about the CARS ministry and to donate, please contact Tony Jao at email@example.com or call 847.201.2777.
the Christmas Compassion Through your support of touch thousands of people projects, we were able to gift cards, Christmas cards, with food, gift bags, toys, e, your contributions of tim and bikes. Thank you for . nce ere diff made a talents, and finances. You
Because of your genero Lake Zurich Campus
More than 3,100 pe ople from 47 states and 10 co untries visited yulelog4acause.org , a Web site created by The Ch apel. This fundraiser raised more than $650 and people donated m ore than 150 coats to help keep people in our community warm .
children) from the 96 families (242 ed food, gifts, and Family County Jail receiv Game Night bags.
en) from the 45 families (90 chiedldrfoo d and Family
community receiv Game Night bags. grade schools received FOUR local dy , and Family food boxes, ted bears s. bag ht Game Nig bikes were 172 refurbished through the en ldr chi for provided y. istr Holy Spokes Bike Min xes were 1,550 food bo d pantries foo al loc to red live de and families. cards were provided for 1,400 ChristmaesCo s unty Jail to send greeting Lak inmates at the to their families.
n collectSince The Chapel bega rt its Haiti ing donations to suppo eived an Relief Fund, we have rec from our nse po overwhelming res 1, more . church family. As of Feb donated to than $40,000 has been ount that fund relief efforts, an am r normal is above and beyond ou see Godâ€™s to giving. It is wonderful swer his call people step up and an gh actions to show our love throu and not just words!
by Jamie Wamsley :
a church you can believe in
I’m Excited About the Church (You Should Be, Too) I am excited by the Church in America, and yes, this may seem somewhat irrational. After all, every year in our country, thousands of churches close their doors. As our population continues to increase, an ever-shrinking percentage of them choose to identify with the Christian faith. To make matters worse, those of us who do call ourselves Christians hold to less of a biblical worldview than ever before. What exactly is there to be excited about? First, I am excited by the opportunity we have before us. It is estimated that there are more than 200 million unchurched people in the U.S. That’s two out of every three people in our country who have yet to experience the God of the Bible in a powerful way. We live in the midst of one of the greatest mission fields that has ever existed. Second, I am excited by the level of hunger. In spite of the number of unchurched people who live here, 71 percent of Americans describe their personal faith as very important, 64 percent think of themselves as deeply spiritual, and 45 percent are open to checking out a new or different kind of church. Third, I am excited by who the Church is becoming. More than 1,000 new churches start every year and they are hungry for impact. They are using unbelievably creative means of reaching out to a diverse spectrum of people. It seems like there is a church or ministry targeting every niche of our society; you can find Christfollowers almost anywhere. Beyond that, this fresh wave of churches cares as much about making the world a better place to live as it does about reconciling people to God. On the whole, the Church is beginning to live out the Gospel in a way that is making the Kingdom of God more manifest than ever before. This is what makes the message of The Chapel so pertinent, so timely, and so perfectly attuned to a culture that is desperately trying to find its way back to God. Our vision — the reason we exist — is to help the world rediscover God. We are well-positioned to do just that. The Chapel is built on the twin pursuits of personal spiritual transformation and a wide-
spread spiritual awakening (a widespread awakening is simply what happens when one person after another encounters God in a powerful, life-changing way). It is these core convictions — that God is ready to transform our lives in ways we can’t even imagine and that God is ready to do it in the lives of all those who are willing — that form the basis for spiritual revival and for everything that our church does. If The Chapel is your church home, be encouraged. You have
“On the whole, the Church is beginning to live out the Gospel in a way that is making the Kingdom of God more manifest than ever before.” found a group of people who are pursuing genuine transformation together and asking God to help them become everything he created them to be. You have also found a calling: this same group of people wants to help other people find the God they’ve been looking for. I’m excited (and you should be, too) because God is on the move — and The Chapel is moving with him.
Jamie is the senior associate pastor at The Chapel. He has recently started blogging about experiencing God at jamiewamsley.com and can be found on Twitter at @jamiewamsley.
spring 2010 |
Bring your friends and neighbors to this free indoor carnival featuring special guest Noah Munck, “Gibby” from Nickelodeon’s iCarly.
for more information on the times and activities for your campus.
by Allison Cox :
READER, MEET JIM Y
ou see a lot of The Chapel’s dedicated staff on the weekend during the service or in the children’s ministry. But you don’t often get to see those people who oil the wheels of the church and keep it running smoothly “behind the scenes.” We want you to meet one of those people, Jim Alexander. You’ll find him most days of the week at the Libertyville campus, either behind his desk in the Operations office or volunteering in the café on the weekend. Now that you know him, be sure to say “hello.” WHAT IS YOUR ROLE AT THE CHAPEL? My current title is pastor of operations — my fifth title in five years of ministry! (And who said churches are boring and stay the same …) My role is on the Central Support team and I have responsibility for the financial, legal, technology, and stewardship areas across all campuses. I also serve on the Directional Team, which is like our version of a management team for the church. WHAT GIFTS OR SKILLS HAS GOD GIVEN YOU THAT HELP YOU DO YOUR JOB WELL? I’m an analytic problem solver, tactician, and strategist. My strongest spiritual gifts are administration and discernment, which can come in handy when you’re trying to help keep things moving along. WHERE ARE YOU FROM? I was born and raised in East Tawas, Mich. I lived in Ann Arbor, Mich., and then Boston during the college years. My wife and I came to Chicago in 1990 after living in the San Francisco Bay area for three years. We love Chicagoland — the weather is so great. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE YOU CAME TO THE CHAPEL? Before being in ministry, I worked in the technology marketplace for companies like Oracle, Sun Microsystems, and Siebel Systems. I helped businesses employ technology solutions to help them better manage their customer relations. HOW DID GOD CALL YOU INTO MINISTRY? In 2004 I had reached the “half time” portion of my life and God began working on me through multiple venues — people in my life, books, music, and a men’s retreat. I was struggling to feel that my efforts in the workplace were making any difference in the world. God opened up an opportunity to serve on staff at Hawthorn Hills Community Church as a business director and I decided to trust him and give it a shot.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO WORK AT THE CHAPEL? Most people outside of The Chapel think that I dust the pews and adjust the pipe organ. In reality, the environment is extremely entrepreneurial, creative, and very fast-paced. The staff is extremely talented and many are very “accomplished” professionals who have stepped away from marketplace success because they want to be part of what God’s doing here. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. I’ve been married to my wonderful wife, Tia, for 22 years. She teaches eighth grade math at Hawthorn South in Vernon Hills. I have two awesome sons: Clay is 17 and Luke is 14. They are very active in music and athletics at Stevenson High School. I love my family; they rock my world. WHEN YOU’RE NOT AT WORK, WHAT DO YOU ENJOY DOING WITH YOUR TIME? I enjoy training for and competing in multi-sport events like running and triathlons. IF YOU COULD TRAVEL ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHERE WOULD YOU GO AND WHY? Australia. I’ve always wanted to snorkel/scuba the Great Barrier Reef. It’s an amazing part of creation. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT YOU BUT MOST PEOPLE DON’T? When you have a technical background, everybody kind of puts you in that “box.” In reality, I love a lot of things, like music (I play the trumpet), sailing, and I love to compete athletically. I love to fly and am also a private pilot.
spring 2010 |
is amazing how “buzz” is contagious! It was shown in living color when the fast food restaurant Sonic came to town. From the placement of the “Coming soon!” sign to questions about the opening date, it was a big topic of conversation in Lake Zurich. Twitter and Facebook posts dreamed about Sonic’s mouthwatering cherry lime-aids and tater tots. The line extended out of the parking lot as many waited to get their first taste at the grand opening. We are starting to experience that same kind of contagious “buzz” around the Easter launch of our new Lake Zurich campus. The community can’t stop talking about it, our staff is chomping at the bit to get going, and our Lake Zurich core is growing like crazy. What is it about the launch of a new campus that creates that type of excitement and why is our church putting so much energy into developing more new campuses? The launch of a new campus represents so much more than a new building or even more seating capacity. It represents an op-
have a team of people — led by Kristy Rutter, who attends our Barrington campus — who are dedicated to looking for the very best opportunities and pursuing them. We’ve developed good informational materials to put into the hands of any interested churches and are prepared to journey with them through the reNEW process. We also know that we won’t be aware of every God-given opportunity. We believe that some churches are actively looking for creative solutions to their problems, so we’ve provided them an online portal to help them find us. We’ve created a new Web site, reNEWmychurch.org, which was designed to help struggling churches learn about the heart and mission of The Chapel, gather information about what it might look like to become a Chapel campus, and decide if they want further information about reNEW. We believe that this can be a valuable resource for any church that is considering a change in the trajectory of their future.
“The launch of a new campus represents so much more than a new building or even more seating capacity. It represents an opportunity to reach a whole new community, one person at a time.” portunity to reach a whole new community, one person at a time. Experience has shown us that when we open a new campus, it attracts a lot of people who live in that area — folks who aren’t currently attending The Chapel or often any other church. Simply put, when we open a Chapel campus in a new town, we extend our reach and help more people rediscover God. We have already seen lives changed forever just through the pre-launch Core Gatherings. Lake Zurich is just the beginning. Our research tells us that new campus opportunities exist all over Chicagoland and beyond. We find ourselves in a unique time in history, when the downturn in the economy has had a disastrous impact on many churches. Sadly, many congregations are quickly running out of options. We believe that The Chapel can come alongside some of these struggling churches and provide a Kingdom alternative — to come together with us to form a new Chapel campus. We recently developed a new initiative called “reNEW” that is designed to help lead interested churches, together with The Chapel, through a process of prayer, discovery, discernment, and decision. We feel like the name “reNEW” is perfect for reflecting our heart and intent. At one point in their history, these faith communities were stirred by God to build churches from which they would worship and serve him. A beautiful and glorifying thing happened in the Kingdom. The Chapel would love to partner with them to renew what God did back then, by helping them to once again become places of vibrant ministry where people are regularly rediscovering God. Our initial approach to finding potential churches to participate in reNEW is to look into opportunities that we already know about. Not every church is going to be a good fit, but some will be. We
You can be a part of these exciting developments. Here are three things you can do to help us: 1. Pray for God’s favor. We need his guidance in knowing where to look and his wisdom in knowing which opportunities to pursue and which to let be. Pray also that God’s favor would rest on the churches that are struggling to survive, that they might know his peace and power. 2. Help provide leads. If you know of a church that you think might be a good candidate for reNEW, please pass that information along to Kristy at firstname.lastname@example.org. She’ll take it from there. 3. Move with God. If you hear of a Chapel prayer breakfast, new campus interest meeting, or Core Gathering in your area, please get involved. God may be calling you to the adventure of a lifetime. Our prayer is that the buzz that surrounds the opening of a new campus would explode into a widespread spiritual awakening that changes not only the people who attend, but also the neighborhoods in which they live. We truly believe that God wants to change the world — one person, one family, one community at a time. Together, let’s hold on for the wild ride ahead. 16:9 Rick is The Chapel’s pastor of campuses. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @rickegbert or on his blog, rickegbert.org.
spring 2010 |
: by Rex Minor
Become More Like Jesus By Leading Others Remitha Jones, known to her friends as “Mickey,” came to The Chapel with her husband, Kevin, and two daughters two years ago. After a bout with cancer in 2007, this very energetic woman knew she had to slow down and simplify her life. They needed to find a church closer to their home, but it was important to Mickey to find one that could help her family learn and grow spiritually. Though still dealing with the effects of her cancer, two surgeries, and fear of never getting well, she had a sense of peace. “‘Even in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil’ says Psalm 23,” Mickey said. “I had to stop doing so much and rest. God used my cancer to help me deal with my pride and self sufficiency.” Mickey had not wanted people to know about her cancer or help her. She finally realized that she needed to let people help her, and that she was “removing people’s blessing” by not allowing others to help her. Mickey started attending the women’s large group Bible study to further her spiritual growth. She hadn’t fully recovered from her cancer, and her low energy didn’t allow her to volunteer. Her small group leader, Sue Danson, welcomed her, called her, prayed for her, drove to her work to meet her for lunch, and genuinely cared for her. Mickey felt she had found a home and a place to grow spiritually. After she felt better, she started helping out by cleaning up the tables after the study. A year later, the previous coordinator asked Mickey if she would like to lead and coordinate the whole study. Mickey has been leading for about a year now and believes she has really grown spiritually through leading other women. “I learned that I need grace daily, and I need to know how to impart it to others,” Mickey said. “I get to see God moving in other women’s lives, and I have the privilege of encouraging, supporting, and challenging them in this endeavor. It has made me learn to pray well and to see God in different ways.” One of the greatest joys in leading the large group study is the wonderful friendship and bonding with the other women leaders. Tonya Werner assists with the setup of the study at one
of our campuses. She said this about her experience: “I have learned a lot about my spiritual gifts and my unique abilities and calling. When I am using my gifts in ministry, I can feel God’s presence in a very unique way.” In her experience leading and coordinating teachers and curriculum, Kim Mayer said she has learned that “sometimes God offers us opportunities to trust him — opportunities that at times stretch us but are the very things that ultimately grow us. I came onto the leadership team thinking I had something to offer, but I
“I get to see God moving in other women’s lives. It has made me learn to pray well and to see God in different ways.” learned that I have become a student. I am learning each day to come to him and ask, ‘What do you have for me to do today?’” Helping others along on their spiritual journey can truly help us with our own movement toward God, just as it has for these women. You might want to consider that God may want you to help others grow spiritually. And while doing so, God will mold you into Christ-likeness — sounds like a great investment! Rex is the executive director of Transformational Community at The Chapel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Serving at The Chapel Your gifts, talents, and skills can be used at The Chapel! From the parking lot to small group leaders, we have opportunities for everyone. Check them out at chapel.org/serving.
Canâ€™t find what youâ€™re looking for? Contact us at email@example.com and we will help you find a place to serve.
A Canine for by Amanda Lynch
In their search for a breed of dog that Kate can tolerate with her allergies, the Slobodians visited Chloe from Midwestern Labradoodle.
: STRENGTHEN FAMILIES
efore Kate was born she was our ‘little bird’ … We had no idea she’d be a canary. She seems allergic to everything.” This statement from the video montage on Kate Slobodian’s Web site is a window into the lives of the Slobodian family. Kate is a 4-year-old who loves to do all the things little girls enjoy. Her parents, however, are terrified to bring her anywhere for fear she will come into contact with one of the many allergens that could send her into anaphylactic shock. Kate suffers from severe asthma and food allergies. Even the smell of eggs can trigger an attack. No matter how diligent her parents are, there is no way to detect every allergen. That’s why Kate ended up in the hospital last year numerous times. Her first allergic reaction happened when she was four months old just from taking a sip of formula. Since then, she has been in and out of the hospital and an EpiPen (to administer life saving medication in the event of a reaction) has been a constant traveling partner. As Kate gets older, she wants to do more things. She would love to go to school and on play-dates — all the places kids her age love to go. But every time she goes out in public, there’s the risk that someone had a trace of egg on their hands before they opened the door Kate is about to touch. Kate’s life is limited in ways most people can’t imagine. Kate’s mother, Ann, explained that Kate has a maturity that is unusual for a 4-year-old. Kate can explain how to use the EpiPen and Nebulizer that follow her from place to place. She can list the foods she is allergic to. But she is still a 4-year-old. She won’t always speak up and let the adults around her know when she needs to use her Nebulizer. Like any 4-yearold, she doesn’t want to stop playing to have her treatment. The only safe way for Kate to be independent is to find a way to prevent her from coming into contact with the allergens. The Slobodians have been raising money for a dog that could help Kate do just that. Angel Service Dogs are trained to detect allergens anywhere, allowing their owners the freedom to safely participate in daily activities outside the home. The dogs are trained in Colorado by a pastor who spends two years teaching the dogs to detect even the tiniest traces of allergens. Each dog is trained for the specific family to whom it will go. That way, Kate’s dog will detect only her allergens. This also means that the family
ABOVE: Kate Slobodian wears a purple smock to The Great Adventure, The Chapel’s children’s ministry, so that volunteers and staff are aware of her life-threatening allergies.
has to provide an initial payment of $7,500 to begin training a dog. In total, the dog will cost $15,000. While this sounds like a lot of money to any family, it is extremely overwhelming for the Slobodians as Kate’s father, Brad, recently lost his job. However, the family has faith that God will provide. Ann talks about how God has already protected her children this far. He prepared the family for her children’s allergies even before they were born. (Kate’s older brother, Nick, also suffers from food allergies, though not as severe as Kate’s.) A former roommate of Ann’s had a serious food allergy, so she became accustomed to living with someone with allergies. She learned how to be careful and what common things could trigger attacks. God’s hand has been on the Slobodians every step of the way. He has literally opened doors for them. A fundraiser called “Boo Bash” took place in the fall and had many “Godincidences.” Ganz (the company that makes Webkinz) had agreed to donate 100 Webkinz. By some “mistake,” more than 1,000 WebKinz were donated, allowing the fundraiser to continue well after the original event. The day of the fundraiser was cold and rainy and the event needed to be moved inside. Unfortunately, the doors of the school where the event was going to take place outside were locked. By chance, Ann saw a small sign indicating that the Board of Education was meeting in another area. She was able to find the board members and the doors were open in time for the event. God’s hand extended beyond the fundraising events, however. Ann described how a foundation contacted the Slobodians directly to offer financial assistance. A local baseball team, the Lake County Fielders, will honor Kate by donating a portion of their ticket sales from two games this summer to the service dog fund. Each of these blessings has been a powerful reminder of God’s presence and guidance in Kate’s life. When asked about how this experience has impacted her faith, Ann responded, “You have to trust God because you can’t control everything. You have to trust that he has his hands on her and will protect her and take care of her.” A service dog could be one way that God provides protection for Kate. So far, the family has raised enough money to begin the training for her allergy dog. As of January, $2,000 was still needed to meet their goal. God has used many hands to protect Kate this far. He has used each donation to care for Kate. Her dog will be an angel, watching over her, protecting her from unseen danger, and giving her the freedom to live and give glory to God. 16:9 If you would like to contribute toward the fund for Kate’s service dog or send care packs to children or adults with food allergies, please visit ak94kate.com. Amanda is a speech language pathologist for children. She and her
LEFT: Brad, Kate, Nick, and Ann Slobodian at “Boo Bash,” a fundraiser to support the family’s efforts to buy a service dog for Kate.
husband, Chris, live in Grayslake with their three daughters and attend the Grayslake campus.
spring 2010 |
Everyone has a story. We want to hear yours! Tell us your story at chapel.org in the â€œMy Storyâ€? section. Simply upload your webcam video to share what God is doing in your life and watch how God is moving in others.
by Dan Huffman
: the great adventure
Who’s Really in Control? Recently, I was on vacation with my family when I realized that I have control issues (this is no surprise to my wife, I’m sure). My daughter, Grace, spotted a four-man bicycle at the resort where we were staying and wanted our family to take it for a spin. It wasn’t long before I found myself seated next to Grace in the front with the rest of the family in back, eagerly awaiting our bike ride. There were two steering wheels, so I grabbed a hold of mine with both hands safely in the “3 and 9” position. My daughter also grabbed her steering wheel and smiled at me. A vision of us tipping over popped into my brain when I realized her steering wheel was the only one connected to the wheels. It was a strange and unsettling feeling to turn my steering wheel without it having any affect on where the bicycle went. Eventually I did relax a bit and there were even a few moments where I had fun pretending to steer along with my daughter. Of course, the fun would have been real if I was really the one in complete control. This experience helped me realize an important truth. I’m never really the one in complete control. Even when I think I’m holding tight to the steering wheel of life, it’s only an illusion. Our steering wheels aren’t really hooked up to anything of substance. As unsettling as that may seem, the good news is God’s at our side and his steering wheel is connected to the wheels. God is ultimately in control of my life and the lives of my children. Even though I know that he is a far better driver than I am with my life, I still sometimes find myself responding to his control in the same way I did on my family’s bicycle adventure. Sometimes I’m tense inside not knowing what God’s got planned. What if he puts me in uncomfortable situations? What if he asks me to sacrifice some of the things I love? The truth is he probably will ask me to do all of these things and they will actually lead to a much better life than if I was selfishly in control. The Apostle Paul reminds all of us that before there was Earth, God planned out who we would be and what we would do. He writes this promise down for us in Ephesians 2:10: “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (NLT). Knowing God’s destination upfront certainly helps me to loosen my grip on the steering wheel and try to enjoy the ride.
My control issues go beyond my own life; I also want to control the lives of my children. I want them to obey — the first time and every time. I want them to finish their homework without putting up a fuss. Basically I want them to be perfect angels. As my children grow older, all illusions of control are gone like the last piece of deep-dish pizza. I’m not saying that my children are stark raving, out-of-control maniacs. I’m simply stating that
“The truth is God probably will ask me to sacrifice some of the things I love, but it will actually lead to a much better life than if I was selfishly in control.” although it is my role to raise my children to follow God’s ways, I realize ultimately God is responsible for who my children are. God created our kids and has a plan for them. He tells us that his plans for them are very good! In his perfect wisdom, he has given parents many important roles to play as our children grow. I believe one of our most important roles is to model true surrender to God so that our children will see, from the front seat, the thrill ride that following God truly is.
Dan is the executive director of TGA, Inc., the children’s ministry curriculum at The Chapel. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
spring 2010 |
PIGGY BANK by Allison Cox
hen a call to respond to needs in our community and around the world went out to the Chapel family at Christmastime, it wasn’t just adults who responded in generosity. The Chapel’s children’s ministry, The Great Adventure, challenged kids across all campuses to help raise money to purchase bunk beds and linens for orphans in Kenya. Oasis for Orphans, a ministry started by two Chapel families, is building a second dormitory for children at its ministry site in the rural Trans Mara region of Kenya. “It is important to note that most people in rural east Africa can only dream of a bed,” Oasis for Orphans co-founder and co-director and Mundelein campus attendee Chris Herden said. “They typically share a mat on the floor with various family members and even the occasional chicken or two! At the children’s home, most kids sleep three to a bed out of necessity. Our dream is to provide each child with his or her own bed — a little piece of privacy, which is something that orphans don’t have a lot of.” A second dormitory will also keep many of the children from having to travel several miles each night to stay with a caretaker because there is not enough room at the current site. The goal was to raise enough funds to purchase 25 bunk sets for the new dormitory. The sets cost $180 each for a total of $4,500. Each bunk set includes the bunk and two blankets, mats, pillows, bed linens, and bed covers. In January, TGA met its goal and raised enough money to purchase all 25 bunk sets! TGA staff and volunteers were overwhelmed at how children and families stepped up to help another group of children who are in need of such basic supplies. Many children gave sacrificially from their savings or birthday money and all of them showed that God can use even the youngest child to make a difference in someone’s life. The campaign is the second one that TGA has undertaken to raise funds for Oasis for Orphans. Last year, money was raised to drill a well to provide clean water for the orphans. In addition to the dormitory, Oasis for Orphans is now in the process of completing the well, a permanent kitchen, and sanitary facilities. This is the only children’s home in this region of Kenya and will have the only clean water well within more than 150 miles. Oasis for Orphans currently cares for 74 orphans. Families from The Chapel sponsor many of these children and several of them have actually traveled to Kenya to see their sponsored child. The ministry provides for all of the children’s needs, including food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education. They also worship together at the local church. If you are interested in learning about or supporting the ministry of Oasis for Orphans, please visit oasisfororphans.org. 16:9
“Many children gave sacrificially from their savings or birthday money and all of them showed that God can use even the youngest child to make a difference in someone’s life.”
TOP: Before coming to the Oasis for Orphans home, children were used to sharing a sleeping mat with family members and sometimes even a chicken. RIGHT: Boys and girls from the Oasis for Orphans children’s home in Kenya enjoy having their own bed and a bit of space to call their own. spring 2010 |
ecause we believe God calls us as Christians to care for orphans and to reflect our adoption into the Kingdom of God, The Chapel is proud to support families who adopt and those who are waiting to adopt. There are two support groups that meet each month for encouragement, information, and fellowship:
“Journeys from the Heart”
(Interested, waiting, or domestic adoption) Third Thursday of the month, 7 – 9 p.m. Grayslake Campus
(International, foster care, or older children adoption) First Wednesday of the month, 7 – 9 p.m. Libertyville Campus
Here are stories from some of the participants in The Chapel’s adoption support groups.
‘We See the Goodness of God’ We’ve had the privilege of adopting twice domestically. We already had children, but we felt God leading us to add to our family. Jessie was born in 2005, and we fell instantly in love with her. She was a beautiful little preemie with Down syndrome. She was just our little girl. We lost her to an infection at the tender age of four and a half months. Our Chapel family prayed for Jessie when she was ill and wrapped us in Christ’s love after she passed. God used adopting Jessie to give us a real heart and desire to raise a child with Down syndrome. In his faithfulness, God brought us our sweet Gabby in 2006. One look at that cutie-pie’s face and all our fears of loving again vanished. It is amazing how quickly and completely you can fall in love with a child, even if that child does not bear your DNA. It is easy to see the goodness of God through Gabby and we can’t imagine life without her. The adoption support group at the Chapel has been both a lifesaver and a source of great joy. There is nothing like sharing your lives with others who are walking the same path! Libi, Rick, Sarah, Matthew, Gabby, and Carol Egbert
—Rick and Carol Egbert
‘We Knew God’s Hand Was in It’
Kai, Ava, and Mia Schraeder
‘In Perfect Harmony with God’s Will’
God blessed our lives in April 2006 when we accepted our foster son into our home. Cory was only 19 days old when we first met him. We had talked a lot about being foster parents and knew it would not be easy. We also knew that there was a need for foster parents and we felt led by God to make that commitment. Those things helped prepare our minds for fostering, but nothing could really prepare our hearts. The moment we saw that little boy for the first time, all 5 pounds, 6 ounces of him, we knew God’s hand was in it. For the next year we loved and cared for that little guy. We worked with him to overcome some developmental delays and gave him lots of love and nurturing. We developed a good relationship with Cory’s mom and attended doctor appointments together and sent her pictures that we took and artwork that he made at daycare. He developed a good relationship with her, too, and eventually began visiting her overnight. Cory went home to his mom after spending a year with us. Of course it was hard to say goodbye to him, but deep down we knew that we had made a real contribution in his life and that it was God’s plan for him to return home. We are thankful for that experience because it taught us many things about our own spiritual gifts and God’s plan for us. Honestly, this little boy touched many hearts and began what is now a strong bond we have with his mom. She is a wonderful woman and without this experience I would have never met her. Because of this experience, our faith grew immensely and our relationship with God reached a new level. Although it was not God’s plan for us to adopt Cory, this fostering experience paved the way for Laura to become involved in The Chapel’s adoption ministry. In the three years we’ve been waiting to adopt, our lives have continued to be blessed by her communion with others in the adoption support groups and by sharing in the experiences of others who are planning to adopt through fostering.
While dating, we happily discovered that we both desired to take the unconventional path of building a family only through adoption rather than the traditional route of biological children. While uncommon, we believe this “first-choice adoption” route is a wonderful family planning option. We were led to China, where we’ve traveled three times since 2005 and brought home — Stan and Laura Grimes two girls and a boy. Two of our children are classified as “special needs” — a daughter with repaired cleft lip/palate and a son born without a right arm. Words cannot express the God-given depth of joy our children bring to us and the deeper understanding we now have for God’s love for his children. Ordinary people can experience amazing God-adventures by simply following his heart for adoption. Although we’ve always loved the Lord, it wasn’t until we adopted that we knew beyond all doubt that we were in perfect harmony with God’s will. In addition, through our passion for adoption, we’ve met an amazing group of people through The Chapel’s adoption support group. This group is like family, helping and celebrating the joys of parenting our children. We feel so blessed that The Chapel is dedicated to God’s command to care for children in need.
Stan and Laura Grimes and their foster son, Cory
—Josh and Christy Schraeder spring 2010 |
The Chapelâ€™s Foster Care, Safe Families, and Adoption Conference
Make plans to attend this conference and discover how God might be calling you to look after children in need!
Saturday, April 17 8:30 a.m. â€“ 1:30 p.m. Libertyville Campus
: MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Nothing to Fear
by Marvin Olasky
Feeling bored with your Christian life? Author and activist GARY A. HAUGEN says fighting injustice is the answer. ››
spring 2010 |
e are entering a winter of discontent for some U.S. evangelical conservatives. Not only does darkness come early and (in many areas) cold weather descend, but the economy is frozen and our politics may be as well. Even more icy is what Gary A. Haugen sees: “a palpable restlessness among faithful, earnest Christians who feel like they are on the journey with Jesus, but somehow missing the adventure.” His new book, Just Courage (IVP), offers a gutsy alternative to sad stasis. Haugen until 1997 was a senior trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. Now he is president and CEO of International Justice Mission, a nonprofit that in 12 countries helps to rescue victims and prosecute perpetrators of sexual exploitation, slavery, and other abuses. IJM investigators collect evidence and work with local authorities to rescue victims; then IJM lawyers seek to prosecute the traffickers.
Christians miss God’s great calling to a life of heroic rescue simply because they are oblivious to the need. A second reason is despair — sometimes it’s not that we don’t know enough, it’s that we know too much. With so many accounts of child prostitution, slavery, racial violence, and torture, we have absolutely no idea what to do about it, or how the seemingly small skills or gifts we have to offer could make any difference at all. And finally, fear — responding to God’s call to justice requires us to embrace the unknown, things beyond our control. It sounds scary, uncomfortable, exhausting, and probably dangerous. So in our ignorance, despair, or fear, many of us miss the great and glorious adventure God has in store for us when we trust Him wholly and walk with Him.
Q: What is the cause of the subtle but deep discontent that you see among many Christians?
When we began to build cu-de-sacs here in the United States, it was to address homeowners’ fears about traffic in their streets. The thought was that these closed-off streets would eliminate the kind of traffic that could be dangerous to children playing on the sidewalks. But now, studies reveal that cul-de-sacs are ac-
They feel this way because they thought that the Christian life would offer them something that was somehow bigger, more glorious — but at the end of the day, they find themselves wondering, “Is this all there is?” Christians seem to be yearning to be liberated from a life of accumulated triviality and small fears, and I see in Scripture a clear pathway to freedom — namely, in answering Christ’s call to join Him in His struggle for justice in the world. Q: You give three reasons why many Christians miss larger callings and settle for little. First, ignorance —many of us are simply not aware of the massive, urgent need for rescue in the world. The vast abundance and isolation of the world’s affluent communities mean that many Western
Q: You use cul-de-sacs as a metaphor concerning the search for safety. What have we learned about them?
tually the most dangerous residential setup for kids. Far more children are injured by cars backing up than by those moving forward. So, the safety we thought we were securing was just an illusion. In the same way, I find we’ve built spiritual cul-de-sacs for ourselves, believing that when we feel safe and secure, we can most experience the fullness of God; but in this illusory safety, we instead find ourselves restless, longing for a way out, and somehow missing that closeness to our Maker we thought we would find. Q: How do we become brave? First we have to recognize fear as the problem. Fear is embarrassing, so we tend to want to believe that something else is holding us back. Then, once we’re able to recognize our fears for what they are, we have to choose not to be safe. We need to bring our gifts, passions, and strengths beyond places of safety and control, and into a sphere where we actually need God. God dignifies our existence with choices — and one of those is whether we will choose to follow Him beyond the limits of our own small fears and interests. And when we make this choice, we see God show up. This then builds our confidence in Him, and we find the true basis for being brave.
“We are talking about protecting the most basic liberties of poor people made in the image of God. This is still a great struggle and Christians are called in this generation to fight as they always have in history.”
Q: Why did you start IJM? When I was working as a lawyer for the Department of Justice, I had many friends who were serving some of the poorest people on our globe as missionaries and humanitarian workers overseas. They were caring for those suffering from hunger, from sickness, from spiritual emptiness — but as they worked in areas of great need, they were surprised to learn that the root of much of this suffering that they saw among the world’s poor was violence. Entire families were suffering because brutal brick kiln owners held them in slavery. Young fathers languished in prison on trumped-up charges. Little girls were held in brothels and relentlessly assaulted by men who paid their “owners.” Q: Say a young lawyer is bored by corporate law. What interests and personality characteristics should he have to work for an organization like IJM? At IJM we aspire to three primary attributes — to be Christian, to be professional, and to be bridge-builders. We set high goals, measure by outcomes, and work hard to achieve success: Our offices around the world are full of competitive, extremely bright, and hard-working lawyers, social workers, and investigators — but it is my great hope that the characteristic that would most define IJM’s staff would be our love. And this is the trick: to take those powerful professional capacities into service among the poorest and weakest. Q: Why should such a lawyer join IJM rather than, say, the Peace Corps? Are people called to IJM — and what does that calling look like? Law is most fundamentally meant to address the issue of violence — and rule of law is the crying need of the poor in the developing world. A lawyer who wants to use his or her skills and training to address this urgent need of the world’s poor
is answering a call from God’s own heart. Scripture makes it clear that God hates injustice and wants it stopped. Though a specific call to justice and the response to it may look different in each Christian’s life, the call itself comes from God’s very clear words to us. Q: The term “social justice” is often used by the left. How can conservative Christians recapture that term without abandoning their political principles? We must return to the basics. The pursuit of a just society is a very fundamental biblical calling and has always been a bedrock commitment of thoughtful conservatism. We are not talking about nuanced social engineering projects. We are talking about protecting the most basic liberties of poor people made in the image of God — the right not to be raped, illegally detained, assaulted, dispossessed, and enslaved. This is still a great struggle and Christians are called in this generation to fight as they always have in history. Q: Why is it good for us as Christians to go beyond where our own strength can take us? When we choose to follow God beyond where our own strength can take us, He rescues us from our small prisons of triviality and fear — and this is a good and beautiful and freeing thing. When we walk with God to the jagged edges of our faith — the places beyond our own control, beyond what we may see the crowd around us doing or approving — God promises we will experience Him: His power, His wisdom, and His love. I can imagine no greater thing for any Christian to experience than that. 16:9
WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT IJM?
nternational Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators, and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators, and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems. IJM’s justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems. IJM investigators, lawyers, and social workers intervene in individual cases of abuse in partnership with state and local authorities to ensure proper support for the victim and appropriate action against the perpetrator. Such collaboration is essential to obtain convictions against individual perpetrators and to bring meaning to local laws that are meaningless if not enforced. Violence against the poor is not driven by the overwhelming power of the perpetrators — it is driven by the vulnerability of the victims. This violence can be stopped when the power of the law is brought to bear on behalf of those who need it, and when people of good will contribute their financial and professional resources to insisting it stop. IJM’s casework model combats victimization and violence on the level of the individual and supports functioning public justice systems where the poor urgently need an advocate.
Used by permission | ©WORLD magazine, all rights reserved | worldmag.com Gary Haugen will speak at The Chapel in March. You can learn more about him and International Justice Mission at ijm.org.
This information was taken from International Justice Mission’s Web site, ijm.org, where you can also find news about the organization’s casework and learn how to get involved in the efforts of IJM.
spring 2010 |
By the Numbers:
We give you the numbers. You decide what to do with them.
WATER: We all need it. What varies is how we drink it and how we respond to others who don’t have it.
$6.2 million+ Amount in grants committed by Ethos Water toward its goal of $10 million for humanitarian water programs in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The purchase of one bottle of Ethos Water at Starbucks Coffee contributes $.05 to this cause.
Number of people on the planet who don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in six people on Earth.
Homes that could be powered for a year with the 1.5 million barrels of oil it takes to produce the number of plastic water bottles consumed by Americans.
Percentage of sickness and disease caused by unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from those conditions, 90 percent are children under 5 years old.
Estimated number of work and school hours lost every year in Africa to the act of fetching clean drinking water. Deadly sins that inspired the Project 7 products sold at Caribou Coffee and the seven facets of its mission that address the consequences of sin: heal the sick, save the Earth, house the homeless, feed the hungry, help those in need, build the future, and hope for peace.
24 Psalm that starts with this verse: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it ...” (NIV)
19,340 Height in feet of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the mountain climbed in January by musician Kenna, Lupe Fiasco, Jessica Biel, and other celebrities to raise awareness of the global water crisis.
91 Number of contaminants regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act. There are more than 60,000 chemicals used within the U.S., according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Cost of a 24-pack of Deer Park water at Wal-Mart.
$1 Amount required to give one African clean water for one year.
Cost of an aluminum water bottle at Wal-Mart.
by Tony Jao :
Compassion vs. Feel-Good Consumerism I’m sitting here at a well-known coffee shop, drinking a small cup of decaf coffee with sugar-free hazelnut flavoring and soymilk. Because of my registered “frequent flyer” gift card, not only do I get the flavoring and soymilk for free, but I get free refills as well! I can sit here for hours and drink all the coffee I want, read a book, make phone calls, or even write an article for sixteen:nine — all because I took five minutes to register my gift card. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving! Speaking of giving, I’ve been looking back at this past Christmas season and I was struck by an interesting thought. Wouldn’t you agree that when it comes to giving gifts — at any time of the year — part of the joy is seeing the reaction and appreciation of the one receiving the gift? There is something inside us that yearns to see how our actions can make a difference in someone’s life, whether it is in giving a gift, providing a Christmas meal to a family in need, or dropping some change in the Salvation Army bucket. The questions I want to process are these: When it comes to being compassionate, are we motivated by the temporary “good feelings” we may potentially receive? When we give, do we ask, “What’s in it for me?” and “How soon can I get it?” I admit that when I registered my gift card, I did so purely to get more out of the deal. Is this the way that God wants us to operate when it comes to serving “the least of these” — the widows, the orphans, the poor, and the downtrodden? The answers to these questions are rather obvious. Of course we shouldn’t be the “takers” when it comes to being compassionate. A key passage of Scripture for the Compassion ministry is 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Verses 6 and 7 say: “If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort” (NIV). As you can see, there is a shared experience that occurs in the form of comfort, suffering, and even endurance. However, each
of these components takes place over a period of time. It’s not a “one time only” deal. The effort expended in the form of time and energy is ongoing. This is something that you might typically see in relationships that you have with friends, family, and co-workers. Why should it be any different when it comes to serving the people God is calling us to assist in their time of need? Please don’t get me wrong — there are times when life-saving acts of compassion are required, such as providing food, shelter, and clothing. But we mustn’t forget about the ongoing needs of those individuals who are suffering and need comfort. When you become aware of an opportunity to demonstrate compassion, instead of looking at it as something that may make you feel good later about your contribution, approach it with the
“When it comes to being compassionate, are we motivated by the temporary ‘good feelings’ we may potentially receive?” purpose of “being with them” in their time of suffering so that they too may experience comfort. Some opportunities might be regularly connecting with someone you know who is struggling financially, serving in one of our recovery or support groups, providing ongoing encouragement to a military family, or offering continued assistance to a single mom who works full time. It’s not your job to be their “savior” in their time of need, but you can just “be with them” as they experience the power of our Savior. Now that is a gift that keeps on giving. Tony is associate director of the Compassion ministry at The Chapel. You can reach him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @tonyjao.
spring 2010 |
Easter Sunday, 10 a.m. JOIN US FOR THIS NEW ADVENTURE! Contact Dave Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
d o G Dear ship, The Zone at d ar ew st on is as h its emp eekend series and w por” le b a p p o st ts are given an op en ud St k. Since the “Un ee w ch ering ea as collected an off h us p m ca tude of gratitude. lle ti vi at ty an in d the Liber on sp then re gs in their life and in ote ss le b e th on ct riting down on a n w or g tunity to refle in er off an ucket as God ng money in the b ti ut p y b so o d n ered in response to off They ca rs ye ra p e os th e some of le offering. Here ar ib g an -t on n a rd ca ents. ese junior high stud th of es liv e th in moving rd, I know I need s, I pray a lot but Lo Ye . rd Lo e, tim y m u u my time.” help me to give yo you. Lord, I give yo to n te lis d an e › “Hey God! Please bl the Bi me time and read to actually take so cisions.” lp me in making de he to d Go k as to › “I need ble and honoring time reading the Bi e or m d en sp to t y wan you so much. I reall › “Dear God, I love me, Lord.” na ur erything in yo ev do n ca I so u yo u alone.”
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FAMILY BY GOD’S DESIGN
by Mandy Roper
met Erika and her daughters after hearing from Ron Kempka that they didn’t have a place to live. Erika works 30 hours a week for a cleaning company and cleaned homes on the side, but still had trouble paying the $500 rent for the one-bedroom apartment she shared with her daughters and nine other people in addition to clothing, food, gas, etc. She was hoping to stay somewhere cheaper for about a month so that she could save money for a security deposit on her own place. After Erika and I met (and checked each other out) we decided that it would be good for them to move into our house. Erika is very protective of her girls (as I am with my two children), so she was careful about where she was going to move. I was equally concerned about the people moving into my home. My kids are young, so I was concerned about their safety. We only have three bedrooms, so my 4-year-old
“We reassured all the
kids that we were now a family who would
see each other often. ”
Family friend Breanna, Natalie Roper, and her three new friends, sisters Lupe, Jocelyn, and Jisele, play together at the Ropers’ home.
daughter gave up her room for Erika and her girls. The first week they were here, it was spring break. I home school my children, so I tutored everyone during that time. The girls loved teaching my kids, too. We did art projects, played outside, went to Chuck E. Cheese, and all sorts of other fun things. Quickly we moved from acquaintances to friends to family. On weekends, my daughter, Natalie, would spend the night in “the girls’ room.” They’d pick out clothes together for church, paint each other’s nails, and play house together. Nathan, my 6-year-old son, was very patient, but sometimes he’d yell, “I just need some boy time!” After five weeks, Erika found a room to rent in a house with other wonderful tenants. There were many tears leading up to the move, but we reassured all the kids that we were now a family who would see each other often. The following week, we picked up the girls every day to come with us to Vacation Bible School in Libertyville. They spent Easter and July 4 at my parents’ house with us. We have sleepovers, movie nights, and birthday parties together. It has been an incredible experience. We’re so fortunate to have met these young ladies. We love them all.
OFF THE HOOK
by Michele Stanger, Community Care Center Volunteer
happened to be using a vacation day today. I thought I would do some of those housekeeping tasks that don’t get done often enough. Little did I know God had other plans. As I started my day I answered a call from someone wanting to know if she could volunteer at the food pantry. We talked for a bit and we agreed to meet there so I could show her the facility and explain how things work. I was done with that call and my phone was ringing again. This time it was someone from the O Salon in Mundelein. The salon wanted to give something back to the community so they had a food drive. One of her neighbors attends The Chapel and was telling her about the pantry. She has about eight boxes of food she would like to donate. We talked for some time about how the Care Center cares for people. It was a pleasant half hour. I was done with that call and my phone rang again. This time it was a volunteer who needed some conversation. It was a nice way to spend another half hour. I was done with that call and my phone rang again.
This time is was another place of business in Mundelein. Kinder Kare had a food drive and heard about us and wanted to donate the items. She said they have more than 400 items in seven or eight boxes. She will deliver them tomorrow night. She asked more about what needs we have and we talked about what a blessing this was. Again my phone was ringing. It was Lloyd reassuring me that he would deliver the bread tomorrow but he wasn’t sure he could make it to the food bank for the free food he picks up every week. I reassured him that God had it covered. We have food left over from Sunday and we have two donations arriving this week. Mary called to tell me she was going to see how many bags there were to pick up at Piggly Wiggly (that has turned into a regular pickup — every two or three weeks there are 30 or 40 bags of food). I was so glad this was a vacation day. What a blessed day. Once again we serve an amazing God. He is always there.
“Little did I know God had other plans.”
spring 2010 |
PRAYER FOR A VACATION
by Linda Berger
It was a beautiful summer day, sun shining high in the sky — a perfect day to go to a water park. A 9-year-old boy asked his mother if he could go to Key Lime Cove for the day. Sadly, the mother had to tell her son “no” and explained to him that they could not afford to go there. This family, not unlike many families these days, is having a hard time making ends meet. After the mom explained this to the son she told him to pray about it, and he did. Three months later, the Compassion ministry got a call from a Libertyville attendee who asked, “Do you know a family in our church who probably hasn’t had much of a vacation this year, has two
small kids, and could use a little fun?” This person had won a contest where the prize was an overnight stay in a queen deluxe stateroom and four water park passes to Key Lime Cove. The young boy’s family came to mind and their name was given to the Libertyville person. She e-mailed the young boy’s mom, not knowing that months ago he had prayed to go to Key Lime Cove. The mom was filled with joy when she received the e-mail. A young boy’s prayer was answered! What a testimony for this child to the power of prayer. His family has gone without so much and their financial circumstances still aren’t the best. God has blessed them through another’s generosity and provided a much-needed getaway of family fun and bonding in a kid-friendly environment. God loves us and wants to provide for us and he can do that in some unique ways!
THE RIGHT KIND OF SUPPORT
by Marcia Sagendorph
More than 60 people were served during the winter session of The Chapel’s Work Ministry that meets on Monday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Libertyville campus. Here are a few examples of how people were blessed. One man who had been very positive and enthusiastic the week before told the group that he had a very bad week and he was very down due to a recent eye surgery. He stayed after and spoke about God’s will for his life because his employment in the construction industry has taken its toll on his body. He has been praying for direction for some time, so his faith had weakened. One leader made him aware of our prayer warriors and he agreed to visit with them immediately. He said he would definitely return the next week. God directed him to attend the Work Ministry so that his faith could be rejuvenated. A recent college graduate, who had just lost his job, attended one week. During the networking session, the group learned that he was not able to articulate what kind of job he was seeking or his marketable skills. It was uplifting to see the members of the group pose questions that allowed him to identify his skills. From there, the group began to work on his passions. People attend from all campuses and we saw connec-
tions being formed. It is a great opportunity for Chapel members from all campuses to meet and support each other as a group. A new member joined one small group. He didn’t really know why he was there. He was 58 and had worked in steel fabrication for most of his life. He was immediately supported and encouraged by six others around the table. He wasn’t expecting it, but God was. Two people who found purpose in the initial meeting had the conviction to bring three new attendees to the second session. No one has lost hope and all realize that God is at work somehow. One woman came in late, sat down at a table in the back of the room, and seemed very angry. She was resistant to participate in the discussion at first, but then shared that she had a hard time networking this week due to several intense family troubles at home. The group rallied around her and reminded her that some things take precedence over the job search. She began to open up and share how hard things had become in her life. She stayed after the closing prayer to talk with another man at the table, and her whole expression softened and warmed up. It seemed to be exactly the type of safe atmosphere and spiritual support she needed.
LAKE COUNTY JAIL Are you interested in serving at the Lake County Jail? Contact Alan Owens at email@example.com for more information.T
back porch news
Congratulations BARRINGTON CAMPUS
1. Reese Lucille Olson Born Jan. 12, 6 lbs and 19 in. Parents: Ryan and Candace Olson
GRAYSLAKE CAMPUS 2. Abraham M. Cuevas Born Nov. 13, 6.13 lbs and 19 in. Parents: Mario A. Cuevas and Maria Almanza
3. Jaden Tyler McGraw Born Dec. 22, 7.5 lbs and 21 in. Parents: Jeremy McGraw and Lanna Anton 4. Nathaniel Elijah Morgan Born Nov. 19, 6.3 lbs Parents: Bill and Jen Morgan 5. Benjamin Eero Nurmi Born Oct. 23, 8.12 lbs and 22 in. Parents: Thad and Sarah Nurmi
2 4 5
LIBERTYVILLE CAMPUS 6. Addison Taylor Sciutto Born Dec. 10, 7.12 lbs and 18 in. Parents: Corey and Kristin Sciutto
: back porch news Let us celebrate with you! Send your submissions for Back Porch News to firstname.lastname@example.org.
BARRINGTON CAMPUS Lance and Erika (Kyle) Hammons Married July 25 at The Chapelâ€™s Barrington campus Now residing in Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Mark and Ali Robinson Married Jan. 2 at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington Now residing in South Barrington, Ill.
spring 2010 |
back porch news
Lilly Flamm Neil Flamm Mary Kuhfahl Chris Stahoviak
Aiya Marsh Parents: Nick and Noemi Marsh
Emmet Rumbley Parents: Joe and Christina Rumbley
Gina Caruso Amy Cho James Gilligan Gail Gustave Ryan Johnson Katie Norwell John Powell Paige Powell Jennifer Reid Jack Walsh
MUNDELEIN CAMPUS Roni Price
Jacob Muniz Parents: Oscar and Sharon Muniz
LIBERTYVILLE CAMPUS Aiden, Isabella, and Veronica Amaya Parents: Oscar and Laura Amaya Ethan Bernard Parents: Steve and Nancy Bernard Calista and Catalina Gonzalez Parents: Sergio and Hanh Gonzalez Kaia Foelker Parents: Mike and Rachel Foelker Jacob Walters Parents: Jason and Bonny Walters
: back porch news Let us celebrate with you! Send your submissions for Back Porch News to email@example.com.
Faithful Service BARRINGTON CAMPUS PFC Joshua Brewer United States Marine Corp/ Marine Air Control Group 48 Stationed at Great Lakes Naval Base, Ill. Please thank Joshua for his service and remember to pray for safety for him and his wife, Rachel, and their children, Faith and Joshua.
MUNDELEIN CAMPUS SPC Richard Navarro United States Army, 485 EN CO Operation Iraqi Freedom Thank you for joining us in praying for Richard, who was deployed to Iraq at the end of February. We are grateful for his service and for the support of his family â€” Richardâ€™s sister Mandy Roper, her husband, Jay, and their children, Nathan and Natalie, attend the Mundelein campus.
spring 2010 |
E A S T E R AT T H E C H A PE L
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